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Last Updated: Monday, 8 August 2005, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
Survivor's tale: Edgware Road bombing
Prince Charles, John Tulloch
Prince Charles visited John Tulloch in hospital after the bombing
Professor John Tulloch, who works at Cardiff Journalism School, was at Edgware Road Tube station in London on 7 July where seven people were killed by the bomb detonated there.

He spoke to Andrew Hoskin from BBC Radio 4's Today programme about his memories of that day.

I was travelling on a routine ordinary workday and my life suddenly changed.

Just out of Edgware Road there was this yellowish flash - I didn't hear a sound. Everything kind of got stretched like a rubber photograph - you know you're pulling at the sides - everything got kind of destabilised.

Next thing I was on my back, blood on my face, hurting in the head, glasses gone - couldn't see much. The carriage was dark.

Then I rolled over to the two American women who'd been sitting close to me, to actually ask them to help me or help me find my glasses.

I saw them in the same condition as me and then I knew this was something big.

And then I kind of got an adrenalin buzz.

Shadowy figures

I knew that my legs were good, my body was good - my head was hurting - but the rest of me was good and I sort of got to my feet and I went looking for my stuff and my glasses and I couldn't see much.

Until that moment, until the moment he came in, I was kind of like in, I'm a survivor mode

I could see the floor was sort of damaged and I avoided that.

But I sat down on this little broken seat, now opposite those two American women - one was sprawled on the seat, one on the floor - and then I saw another Tube train right next to us with its lights on and sort of shadowy figures in the windows.

It's like being in a ground-zero - you know, you're lying there, you don't know anything, you see those American women - you know it's bigger than you, you cross the carriage you see another train - you're kind of remapping your reality and I then thought, two trains - we've had a crash and it went on from there.

This RAF guy came in and helped me and talked about his family and I talked about mine.

It was like I was suddenly a victim - until that moment, until the moment he came in, I was kind of like in, I'm a survivor mode.


[One month on] I've got pretty bad vertigo, so it's actually hard to think clearly - it's hard to talk to you.

On the other hand, I'm making small but steady and significant progress - things that we never would think about normally.

What Iraq is doing is symbolising an awful lot that's wrong with how we relate internationally

This morning I stood up in the shower by myself for the first time.

I walked for half an hour - only a week ago I'd only walked about 30 metres.

I'm not thinking of the bigger pictures, so I can't really answer that question too honestly because, for example, I'm not even thinking about the Tube travel again.

Iraq 'links'

Bombed train
Police investigators lift the bombed carriage from the tracks

I do think that it [the co-ordinated bombing attack] is linked to Iraq. I do think that politicians have deliberately over-simplified the arguments of people who say it's connected to Iraq.

It's not simply that Iraq happened and then, like a billiard ball, this happened.

Iraq actually means lots of different things.

It has lots of meanings. It has, for example, the meaning among an awful lot of people of an illegal war fought by a presidential style leader who doesn't actually believe in popular democracy at all.

Lots of people think about Iraq in moral terms - Abu Ghraib - and a kind of despicable morality which reminds us too closely of Saddam Hussein.

Does the Iraq that means to a lot of people, Falluja, and the killings of thousands upon thousands of harmless people and when I got the force of that explosion and lay in hospital in pain for many days, I was getting just a touch of that sense and emotion and feeling and pain that these people have to face every day.

The bigger picture

What I'm saying is, that Iraq is not simply something that happened that generates terrorists, it's the whole rhetorical set of meanings that won't go away.

The Prime Minister may want us to move on; it's too symbolic, it's deep in our consciousness.

There's me as a comfortably off, white western Australian/British citizen talking and we know that millions of British people have a mix of those sorts of feelings about Iraq and many more that they would tell us about.

If you add to that the injustices the Muslim people have in this society following their family history, following their parents who worked hard and were spat on - people who get herded up by police and so on - I can't speak for them, they must speak for themselves. I'm saying though, that there's a huge alienation.

The various meanings I was talking about, the various discourses about Iraq, of course are more complicated than Iraq because Iraq is part of a much bigger picture - whether it's emotional, ideological, psychological, cultural - there's a whole range of things that are broader than Iraq.

But what Iraq is doing is symbolising an awful lot that's wrong with how we relate internationally and how we relate internally and domestically.




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